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Brent R. O’Neill, Michael H. Handler, Suhong Tong and Kevin E. Chapman

OBJECT

Seizures may cause diagnostic confusion and be a source of metabolic stress after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. The incidence of electroencephalography (EEG)-confirmed seizures and of subclinical seizures in the pediatric population with TBI is not well known.

METHODS

A routine protocol for continuous EEG (cEEG) monitoring was initiated for all patients with moderate or severe TBI at a Level 1 pediatric trauma center. Over a 3.5-year period, all patients with TBI who underwent cEEG monitoring, both according to protocol and those with mild head injuries who underwent cEEG monitoring at the discretion of the treating team, were identified prospectively. Clinical data were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

Over the study period, 594 children were admitted with TBI, and 144 of these children underwent cEEG monitoring. One hundred two (71%) of these 144 children had moderate or severe TBI. Abusive head trauma (AHT) was the most common mechanism of injury (65 patients, 45%) in children with cEEG monitoring. Seizures were identified on cEEG in 43 patients (30%). Forty (93%) of these 43 patients had subclinical seizures, including 17 (40%) with only subclinical seizures and 23 (53%) with both clinical and subclinical seizures. Fifty-three percent of patients with seizures experienced status epilepticus. Age less than 2.4 years and AHT mechanism were strongly correlated with presence of seizures (odds ratios 8.7 and 6.0, respectively). Those patients with only subclinical seizures had the same risk factors as the other groups. The presence of seizures did not correlate with discharge disposition but was correlated with longer hospital stay and intensive care unit stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Continuous EEG monitoring identifies a significant number of subclinical seizures acutely after TBI. Children younger than 2.4 years of age and victims of AHT are particularly vulnerable to subclinical seizures, and seizures in general. Continuous EEG monitoring allows for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment of posttraumatic seizures, and may mitigate secondary injury to the traumatized brain.

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Saniya S. Godil, Scott L. Parker, Kevin R. O'Neill, Clinton J. Devin and Matthew J. McGirt

Object

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a morbid complication with high cost in spine surgery. In this era of health care reforms, adjuvant therapies that not only improve quality but also decrease cost are considered of highest value. The authors introduced local application of vancomycin powder into their practice of posterior spinal fusion for spine trauma and undertook this study to determine the value and cost benefit of using vancomycin powder in surgical sites to prevent postoperative infections.

Methods

A retrospective review of 110 patients with traumatic spine injuries treated with instrumented posterior spine fusions over a 2-year period at a single institution was performed. One group (control group) received standard systemic prophylaxis only, whereas another (treatment group) received 1 g of locally applied vancomycin powder (spread over the surgical wound) in addition to systemic prophylaxis. Data were collected on patient demographic characteristics, clinical variables, surgical variables, and 90-day morbidity. Incidence of infection was the primary outcome evaluated, and billing records were reviewed to determine total infection-related medical cost (cost of reoperation/wound debridement, medications, and diagnostic tests). The payer's cost was estimated to be 70% of the total billing cost.

Results

A total of 110 patients were included in the study. The control (n = 54) and treatment groups (n = 56) were similar at baseline. Use of vancomycin powder led to significant reduction in infection rate (13% infection rate in the control group vs 0% in the treatment group, p = 0.02). There were no adverse effects noted from the use of vancomycin powder. The total mean cost of treating postoperative infection per patient was $33,705. Use of vancomycin powder led to a cost savings of $438,165 per 100 posterior spinal fusions performed for traumatic injuries.

Conclusions

The use of adjuvant vancomycin powder was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of postoperative infection as well as infection-related medical cost. These findings suggest that use of adjuvant vancomycin powder in high-risk patients undergoing spinal fusion is a cost-saving option for preventing postoperative infections, as it can lead to cost-savings of $438,165 per 100 spinal fusions performed.

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Matthew Grech-Sollars, Babar Vaqas, Gerard Thompson, Tara Barwick, Lesley Honeyfield, Kevin O'Neill and Adam D. Waldman

OBJECTIVE

Glioma heterogeneity and the limitations of conventional structural MRI for identifying aggressive tumor components can limit the reliability of stereotactic biopsy and, hence, tumor characterization, which is a hurdle for developing and selecting effective treatment strategies. In vivo MR spectroscopy (MRS) and PET enable noninvasive imaging of cellular metabolism relevant to proliferation and can detect regions of more highly active tumor. Here, the authors integrated presurgical PET and MRS with intraoperative neuronavigation to guide surgical biopsy and tumor sampling of brain gliomas with the aim of improving intraoperative tumor-tissue characterization and imaging biomarker validation.

METHODS

A novel intraoperative neuronavigation tool was developed as part of a study that aimed to sample high-choline tumor components identified by multivoxel MRS and 18F-methylcholine PET-CT. Spatially coregistered PET and MRS data were integrated into structural data sets and loaded onto an intraoperative neuronavigation system. High and low choline uptake/metabolite regions were represented as color-coded hollow spheres for targeted stereotactic biopsy and tumor sampling.

RESULTS

The neurosurgeons found the 3D spherical targets readily identifiable on the interactive neuronavigation system. In one case, areas of high mitotic activity were identified on the basis of high 18F-methylcholine uptake and elevated choline ratios found with MRS in an otherwise low-grade tumor, which revealed the possible use of this technique for tumor characterization.

CONCLUSIONS

These PET and MRI data can be combined and represented usefully for the surgeon in neuronavigation systems. This method enables neurosurgeons to sample tumor regions based on physiological and molecular imaging markers. The technique was applied for characterizing choline metabolism using MRS and 18F PET; however, this approach provides proof of principle for using different radionuclide tracers and other MRI methods, such as MR perfusion and diffusion.